SCA Staff and Student Rally:
Wednesday 17th August 1-2pm
Eastern Avenue (Madsen Building to the Quad)
Students of the Sydney College of the Arts are on strike against proposed cuts to their staff and curriculum. Over 150 students voted to not attend class on Wednesday 17th of August and instead join forces with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) to rally against the cuts outlined last week in the university’s Draft Change Plan (DCP).
On the release of the Draft Change Plan, undergraduate student Jemima Wilson stated that “the DCP has revealed exactly how much we will lose if the current proposals go ahead”.
The DCP states that staffing will be reduced by up to 60% and “the more resource-intensive mediums of the Glassmaking, Ceramics, and Jewellery & Object studios will be scrapped and no longer offered to commencing students from 2018.” Additionally, the Bachelor of Visual Arts, and Higher Degree Research PhD’s, Master of Fine Art and also coursework Masters will be removed from course offerings for 2017.
Students are demanding no cuts to staff or facilities and the reinstatement of the Bachelor of Visual Arts for next year.
Students also reject the University’s claims that the college has an unmanageable deficit, with Jemima continuing that “the UEM (University Economic Model) has been systematically damaging our beautiful college for 7 years, leading to this rushed and tumultuous restructure which is only further damaging the fabric of our community. Claiming to value the arts whilst slowly tearing apart a valued public institution and artistic community? It doesn’t add up, USyd.”
Dylan Griffiths, University of Sydney Students Representative Council (SRC) Education Officer, says that Michael Spence is on notice, “SCA’s expert staff and unique studio-based curriculum, which includes ceramics, glass, and jewellery are the most important features of SCA. If VC Michael Spence and Provost Stephen Garton do not meet the campaign’s demands, guaranteeing that no jobs will be lost and no curriculum cut by the end of the week, the campaign will escalate.”
Eila Vinwynn, a postgraduate student taking strike action, believes the DCP and proposed downscaling of SCA mean an end to the SCA community, stating, “The studios are our laboratories. Our proximity to one another is our life-blood. Our teachers are our guides and mentors. Students demand to be treated with respect.“
130 students at SCA have begun to challenge the University under consumer law for failing to provide the course offering that they signed up for.
The next action for Sydney College of the Arts students will be a forum for the community this Saturday (20/08) outside the Kirkbride complex in Callan Park.
Contact: Tamara Voninski
Contact: Dylan Griffiths